Parks

 

Belvidere Park

LANSING’S FUTURE PLEASURE RESORT LAKE AND RIVER DRIVES

The Park Place Addition’s Plat is Recorded and by Summer Lansing is to have a Thriving Annex

The plat for the Hollister & Skinner addition to the city of Lansing has been recorded, and men are now at work preparing the tract for the spring building. The plat is between baker street, the first street south of the C. &G.T. depot, and Linden avenues and Washington avenue, and a line marking some seven blocks to the west. It is platted into lots of four by ten rods, in blocks of ten lots, with alleyways and streets all laid out. There are 265 lots in all, covering a tract of land 116 acres in extent. There are ten avenues named Sparrow, Barnes, Smith, Beale, Osband, Bradley, Davis, Todd and Coleman, and Peck and Bank streets.

The great feature of the new addition if Belvidere park, a large tract adjoining the river just above Glen island. It is dedicated to the public, and will when completed make one of the prettiest resorts in the city. In the center will be a sizeable lake named Jordan lake, after Rev. H.S. Jordan. On a high hill in the western portion will be a summerhouse to be known, as Temple Hill house, and a pavilion will be erected in the southern portion of the park, adjoining the addition proper. A boat-house on Jordan lake will be a continual source of pleasure during the summer months, and the river is to be easily reached by a pleasant stream of water that will land the boating parties directly back of Glen island, which is one of the most charming islands to be found in the vicinity of Lansing. The park is threaded with pleasure walks and drives, and in fact, the whole is planned with admirable judgment.

The street railway will enter the addition at Barnes avenue about midway between Baker street and Linden avenue; and at Bank street, which runs southwestward with the L.S. & M.S. railway.

On Barnes avenue the street railway will run west through fully three quarters of the addition terminating with a depot on Bradley avenue, only a block from the park entrance, which is reached by passing over two charming rustic bridges. The extreme southern portion of the addition, between Smith and Linden avenues, will be devoted entirely to the manufacturing purposes, and the right-of-way has been reserved through blocks 18-23 inclusive for a L.S. & M.S. Sidetrack.

M.D. Skinner has a force of men at work on Belvidere park even now, and by the last of April will have it entirely completed. The addition is to be known as Park Place addition, and is owned by Marion D. and Clare A. Skinner. Negotiations are already in progress for factories and the addition promises to be invaluable in building up the southern portion of the city. State Republican 12/6/1890

park

A New Resort

E.C. Beecher will erect a Hotel at Belvidere Park

It Will Cost About $15,000 and Will be Fitted with All Modern Improvements — The Place Will be Opened on July 15 — Description of the Spot.

Lansing will soon have another resort, which will vie with Leadley’s park for the patronage of the people.

The beautiful Belvidere park at the terminus of the Washington avenue streetcar line is to be opened up by E.C. Beecher, formerly manager of Leadley’s park, who will erect thereon a beautiful $15,000 hotel and casino, the plans of which are now being draughted by Frank L. Hollister of Saginaw.

There is no more beautiful site in central Michigan for such a resort. The park is heavily wooded and will be laid out in beautiful drives and walks. The ground slopes gradually back from the beautiful bend in Grand river until it reaches a high ridge, on which the hotel will be built. facing the river and fronting on what is now known as Sparrow avenue. Through the middle of the woods runs a creek, which will be bridged at intervals with rustic bridges, thus adding much to the beauty of the spot.

The hotel itself will be a model of beauty and modern architecture. It will be a two-story frame, surrounded on three sides by a 16-foot veranda and promenade. In dimensions it will be 132×192 feet.

On the first floor will be a dance hall. 92×60 feet in dimensions, a reception room and lunch counter. The doors opening on the promenade will be made to swing upward so that the whole first floor will be practically converted into a fine, cool, summer house, through which the cool breezes can blow to cool the heated brow of pleasure seekers.

On the second floor will be the living apartments of Mr. Beecher, a large public dining room and a reception room. Like the first floor, this too opens on a large veranda.

The scenery surrounding the spot is exceedingly picturesque. A short distance down river rises Belle island, while above the grounds the swift flowing rapids almost verging into a waterfall will prove a continual source of pleasure to sightseers. A steamboat will without doubt be added to the accommodations, which will ply between the city and the resort, while at the grounds good boats will make the pastime of boating a rare pleasure.

Work will be commenced on the erection of the building about May 15, and it will be hurried through to completion so that it is expected that by July 15 the grounds will be opened to the public. State Republican 4/26/1893

[What follows is a series of short articles on Belvidere Park. Editor]

The work on the new hotel at Belvidere resort is progressing rapidly. At the beginning of next week Mr. Beecher will put on a force of fifty-two men and will push the work through to completion.  State Republican 5/13/1893

Work on the pavilion “Columbia,” at Belvidere park is progressing rapidly and the park will be open to the public by July 1. Manger Beecher has a force of about fifty-two men at work. State Republican 5/19/1893

Yesterday witnessed the opening of a second resort for pleasure seekers who wish a few hours’ relief from the humdrum of city life and a breath of pure fresh air, scented with new-mowed hay, wild roses, etc. It was practically the opening day for what is destined to be one of the best paying schemes of the capital city. Belvidere park just south of the city. Prince’s band was in attendance and hundreds of people took advantage of the bright day to view the grounds. To be sure, things as yet are somewhat rustic, but time and money will remedy this. Manager Beecher has the “get there” qualities to make the scheme go, and a few weeks even will mark a decided change. It is promised that the new pavilion will be ready for use by July 4. The bathhouses are already completed. State Republican 6/12/1893

OUT AT BELVIDERE

Manager Beecher Arranges More Entertainment for His Visitors.

Lansing people will evidently not be in lack of amusement this summer. Two excellent resorts have sprung up within as many years and offer splendid attractions for pleasure seekers. Manager Beecher of Belvidere park is making every effort possible to bring his resort to the front, and is seeming to even outdo all his former successful attempts. He is now arranging for a series of excellent entertainments or exhibitions, to be given under an immense pavilion, with seating capacity or 1,500.

The first of this series will be given on Thursday, Friday and Saturday of this week. A company of artists has been secured and performances will be given twice daily during their stay. Each day at 2 o’clock, a lady will make the foolhardy and marvelous drop of 175 feet from the top of the pavilion to the ground, hanging by her teeth from a wire cable. Immediately after this daring feat, the performance in the pavilion will begin. The evening entertainments will begin at 7:30 o’clock.

In connection with this company is a band of ten pieces that will furnish music and also parade the streets at noon. New attractions will be given every week. State Republican 6/14/1893

The mystery is when Belvidere Park closed. James Henry Moores acquired the land in about 1898-1900 and worked to improve the property. He installed retaining walls, several bridges and his personal zoo, yep a zoo, whose inhabitants were the first residents of the Potter Park Zoo. The property was deed to the city by Moores on December 21, 1908. The donation encompassed 18 acres of land, with the stipulation by Moores that the property be named Moores Park. (LJ 12/22/1908 and SR 12/22/1908) .

The inscription on the plaque mounted on the pedestals at the entrance to the park reads:

MOORES PARK

Presented to the

PEOPLE OF THE CITY OF LANSING

by

J. HENRY MOORES

December 1908

“I shall pass through this world but once:

if therefore there be any good thing I can do to any fellow human beings

let me do it now, for I shall not pass this way again.”

In 1878 Schuyler Seager, a friend of Moores gave him that inscription on a note which he on his desk where if remained throughout his life. The origin of the quote is disputed and is currently attributed to an unknown Quaker, there are several variants of the quotation.